The best bars and pubs in Northcote: High Street and beyond
14.06.2022

The best bars and pubs in Northcote: High Street and beyond

Northcote bars and pubs
Words by Ben Lamb

We've compiled the best bars and pubs in Northcote on High Street and Arthurton Road for drinking beer and wine, eating pub food, and catching live music, gigs and comedy.

Today we’re taking a wander through one of Melbourne’s fastest-rising suburbs to find the best pubs and bars in Northcote. This means diving into every nook and cranny on High Street (plus an absolute gem on Arthurton) in search of the very best wine bars, craft beer halls, pub grub and live music haunts that offer a band or DJ for every taste.

For those new to the north, Northcote is a Melbourne suburb jam-packed full of history. Some of the houses harken back to the days of the gold rush, and the Northcote Picture House is one of the oldest in the region, now around 110 years old. In the 90s, the suburb went through a bit of a boom and attracted a higher socio-economic base to move in, pour money into the local economy, and make Northcote the melting pot familiar to most northern suburbs that it is today.

You can also check out Melbourne’s most comprehensive guides to the best bars and pubs in each suburb and street here.

Nowadays, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a cooler suburb than Northcote. It’s only a quick tram jaunt into the city, but why would you need to? With everything from music venues to nightclubs to trendy bars, Northcote is a one stop shop for everything a wide array of people need to have a killer night out. It’s a great mix of city hustle and bustle with suburban chill. What’s more, with parks like All Nations and Johnson, there’s some great spaces to get away from it all, sink a casual (and much cheaper) picnic tinny and kill some time over the weekend.

In this detailed guide, we’ve got some classics you know and love, some fresh spots to check out, and some hidden gems you probably didn’t know about. If you’re a local, also check out the best bars and pubs in Thornbury here, Preston here, and Coburg here. If you’re keen to journey up to somewhere a little bit secret instead, check out our list of the best hidden bars.

Wesley Anne

 

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Address: 250 High St
Vibe: Chill, almost country pub vibes
Dedicated Menu: Homecooked grub

If you’re a music fan in Melbourne, there’s no doubt you’ve come across the Wesley a couple of times in your travels. They’re a laid-back bar with equally laid-back staff, who are always keen to give you the best service they can. You can grab some mouth-watering grub at this spot, everything from gnocchi to steak. What’s not to love? One of the easiest to love venues on this list of Northcote bars and pubs.

Francesca’s Bar

Address: 222 High St
Vibe: Trendy
Dedicated Menu: Finger food and pieces

Francesca’s Bar is a real up-and-comer among this illustrious collection of Northcote bars and pubs. In fact, we predict it will soon be a household name. Their menu has a little bit of everything, finger food like jalepeno bites, arancinim and a whole heap more that you can dive into here.

Oh Loretta

 

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Address: 324 High St
Vibe: Chill
Dedicated Menu: Wine bar 

Walking into Oh Loretta is like heading into another world. The white walls and leafy interior will make you never want to leave. They’ve got some regular live music events, great service, and a whole heap of tasty drinks. The decor and resultant vibe make this venue a unique spot on any list of Northcote bars and pubs.

Low Key

 

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Address: 59 High St
Vibe: Cosy
Dedicated Menu: Drinks 

There’s never been a more aptly titled bar than this. There’s a bunch of local brews on offer, with a couple of beers on tap from Bodriggy. Check out more info on Low Key here.

Buck Mulligan’s

 

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Address: 217 High St
Vibe: Cosy
Dedicated Menu: Whiskey

Have you ever wanted to head to a space that is half bookshop half bar? Never thought of it before? Well, Northcote’s Buck Mulligans pairs book launces with tasty drinks like Italian Proseccos, cocktails, and a whole heap more.

Bar 61

 

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Address: 61 High St
Vibe: Modern Melbourne
Dedicated Menu: Cocktail bar

If you need a new staple among your favourite Northcote bars and pubs, Bar 61 is just down the road and waiting for you. The spot is very nice and, like most places on this list, uber laid back and doesn’t get too crazy. There’s some interesting cocktails here too, like the El Picante Margarita, which features Tequila, topped with cucumber and jalapeños. 

Kelvin Bar

Address: 250 High St, Northcote
Vibe: Laid back
Dedicated Menu: Cocktail and spirits 

The Kelvin Bar has been slinging some tasty cocktails and spirits to patrons since 1998. It’s a bit of a hidden gem, the façade is deceiving, head through the doors and be blown away at the world you’re in.

Kitty Somerset

 

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Address: 565 High St
Vibe: Fun
Dedicated Menu: Cocktail

Kitty Somerset has been a facet of the Northcote bars and pubs scene for a bunch of years, and is home to some of the most mouth-watering cocktails across the region. There’s things like Negronis, Whiskey Sours, Mojitos, and a whole heap more that you can see here. 

The Purple Emerald Lounge Bar

Address: 349 High St
Vibe: Chill and old school
Dedicated Menu: Tapas

The Purple Emerald Lounge Bar brings the old school vibes, but with a killer modern spin. They’re only open from Thursday to Sunday, perfect for those long nights you’ll want to have here.  There’s finger food galore at the Purple Emerald, things like sliders, edamame and cheese, dive into the rest here.

Kepler’s Yard 

 

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Address2 Arthurton Rd
Vibe: Classic
Dedicated Menu: Cocktails 

Among the popular 24 Moons live music venue, you can find Kepler’s Yard, a bar doing all the right things. It’s the kind of spot perfect for an after dinner aperitif, or when the bar you’re at closes and you’re looking for another spot.

Northcote Social Club

Address: 301 High St
Vibe: Live music inspired
Dedicated Menu: Pub grub

It can’t be a list of Northcote’s best spots without mentioning the Northcote Social Club. If you’re reading this on Beat, there’s no doubt you’ve seen a gig or two or ten here, and have immersed yourself into the amazing space.

Bar Nonno

 

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Address: 83 High St
Vibe: Classy
Dedicated Menu: Italian inspired

Wine bars are becoming more and more popular in Melbourne over the last couple of years, we’ve been loving all the ins and outs of the wine world. Bar Nonno brings the best of Italian drinking and dining into Northcote through great service, fancy wines, and a whole heap more you can dive into here.

The Bar Next Door

 

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Address: 211A High St
Vibe: Friendly
Dedicated Menu: Drinks

If you’re a music fan keen to dive into a world that many other venues don’t, look no further than The Bar Next Door. They are a live music bar run by a pair of Ethiopian immigrants who bring a special flair to the spot. Dive into more info on The Bar Next Door here.

303

 

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Address: 303 High St
Vibe: Energetic
Dedicated Menu: Drinks

303 has something special about it, it’s got a vibe of something old school and raw, but still cool. They’re really dedicated to putting on some great gigs of all shapes and sizes, jam nights, jazz bands, and community gigs, there’s something for everyone at 303.

Joe’s Shoe Store

Address: 233 High St
Vibe: Ex shoe-store
Dedicated Menu: 10 inch Pizzas

There’s nothing more Melbourne than this, an old shoe store has become one of the most popular wine bars in the city. It’s a laid-back haunt, perfect to kill some hours over the weekend. While you’re here, grab one of their mouth-watering pizzas, or one of their many fancy wines.

The Merri Creek Tavern

Address: 111 High St
Vibe: Live music
Dedicated Menu: Drinks

The Merri Creek Tavern is a High St mecca that has been a staple of the nightlife scene for a number of years. They chuck on some killer gigs pretty much every day, you can catch acts like Kim Salmon, Nick O’Mara, and Charlie Owen, and a bunch more. Dive into the rest of their gig list here. 

The Distiller Melbourne

Address: 530 High St
Vibe: Trendy
Dedicated Menu: Drinks only

The Distiller brings the best of spirit drinking and mixes it together for a high quality spot that you wish you’d heard about earlier. They’ve also got some killer regular events, like a weekly Open Mic night – all performers get a free Grainshaker or NED too.

If you’re keen to belt out some tracks, check out more info here